Saturday, 13 December 2008

Smoking - Scare or Scam?

A fact not known by many people is that Hitler first coined the phrase 'passive smoking' - 'passivrauchen'. Unfortunately for him and the German economy at the time, his chosen method of extermination suffered from a lack of knowledge, said deficit being something time always resolves. Had he known what we now know, or the government and health zealots would have us believe, all he had to do was place everyone into a smoke-filled room.

In 1960 a study of passive smoking, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), was undertaken and which lasted 38 years. It involved 114,000 Californians, included in which were 35,000 whose partners smoked. The findings of the study undertaken by Enstrom and Kabat were published in the British Medical Journal in 2003 and, in the conclusions, stated:
“The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.” And “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, primarily asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema, has been associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, but the evidence for increased mortality is sparse.”

It should also be noted that this study was funded by the American Cancer Society (95%) and the tobacco industry (5%), together with the fact the research was based on Cancer Prevention Studies 1 and 2 (CPS1, CPS2), data supplied by the ACS.

Fast forward to 2008.  The anti-smoking lobby, at the forefront of which is the 'charity' Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) seem to have now managed to have even the display of tobacco products banned from 2011. Alan Johnston, Secretary of State for Health, has just published a consultation document on which he commented, on Radio 4 Today, that the "overwhelming evidence and support" in the government's consultation on smoking was for such a ban. If one looks at the extraordinary support for the Department of Health's (DoH) recommendations and analyses the stakeholders involved, one can see a picture of 'spin' and an element of 'brainwashing' being dumped on the public.

Of the 96,000 replies received there was but a handful from private individuals, the rest coming from what can only be described as 'block-voting' by 'charities' and pressure groups. Witness the following facts: 

Smoke Free NorthWest - 49,507 votes - an organisation entirely funded by the DoH.
Direct Movement by the Youth Smoke Free Team - 10,757 votes - entirely funded by SmokeFree Liverpool who in turn are entirely funded by DoH.
Smoke Free NorthEast - 8,128 votes - entirely funded by DoH.
Smoke Free Action - 1,562 votes - an organisation headed by ASH.

Now, ASH, like all the other 'stakeholders', was created by the government however do their utmost to present themselves as a grass-roots 'charity'. As with all charities they pubish annual accounts and for the year ending 31st March 2007, their income shows the following income - Department of Health £210,400; Wales Assembly Government £110,000; Supporting Charities £185,228 and Donations and legacies received £11,143. Yes, out of all ASH's income, just £11,143 was voluntarily provided. To put this into perspective, the Cats Protection League received £30million and the Donkey Sanctuary £20 million in private donations!

Yet another interesting point has been made, as reported in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday 9th December, by Dr. Alexande Akoulitchev, of the diagnosics company Oxford BioDiagnostics, who points out that the Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world, yet 'smoke like chimneys'. Until a few years ago, he says, 50% of Japanese men smoked, but their health services were not overwhelmed by lung cancer. "Their big problem is colorectal cancer, which may have a dietary connection, perhaps with fermented seafood. If they don't die of colorectal cancer, they live a long life, smoking all the way through".

We now come to the point of this post. Whilst the writer does smoke, even he does not like smoking when at a meal table. Neither does he like the lingering effect that smoke has in a room the following day, consequently tends, when he does smoke, to smoke outdoors. He can therefore see the advantages in banning smoking in certain environments, however to ban say the landlord of a public house from allowing smoking is to interfere with that landlord's right to earn his living. It would be more logical to allow said landlord to decide for himself which trade he wished to cater for, smoking or non-smoking.

It is a form of deceit for 'charities' to present themselves as such when in fact they are nothing more than government funded agencies. What is even more galling is the fact that if government wish to hold a 'consultation' exercise then at least make it take place with a level playing field! 

HT to the Devils Kitchen for the above.

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